Zimbabweans in city hopeful but apprehensive on eve of poll
MILLIONS of Zimbabweans head to the polls tomorrow in what will be the country’s first general election since former president Robert Mugabe was ousted in a soft coup in November.
Zimbabweans living in Cape Town are optimistic and hopeful of change but say they remain concerned over issues of free and fair elections and are apprehensive about returning to the country too quickly.
The Zimbabwe Society at the University of Cape Town has been robustly debating the outcomes of the election recently and member Nyasha Nhamo says the country has already changed and will continue on a positive trajectory.
“Since the change in leadership last year it has changed already because we see how the international community is responding and it seems like there is a future even before the election has happened.
“It’s a tricky equation as its difficult to tell at the moment as the opposition are suspecting that the current government is trying to rig the elections.
“I would go back to Zimbabwe even in the current situation if the current government wins.”
Afrobarometer, a panAfrican independent research network that measures public attitude on economic, political and social issues, have placed the governing Zanu-PF at 40% and the opposition MDC Alliance at 37%, with 20% saying they wouldn’t vote and 3% for other parties.
Unisa international relations student Bathromeu Mavhura, who has lived in Cape Town since 2009, said this indicated it would be a close election.
“This election is very tricky because people thought that when Emmerson Mnangagwa came in he would be just as cruel as Mugabe but he has tried his best to reach out to the international community and Zimbabweans abroad. He seems to be trying to rectify the missteps of the past.”
“I would personally vote for change and would love to return to contribute to the growth of my country,” he said.
Bay Kambi, who has been in Cape Town since 2007 and works as a secretary in the city, says she would vote for the opposition MDC Alliance but cannot return to Zimbabwe at present.
She said she was concerned about Mnangagwa winning.
“He was there before as vice-president and why didn’t he make changes then?” she asked.
Her colleague Tayt, who preferred not to give her surname, said: “I’d like someone young with fresh brains to come in, someone like Nelson Chamisa from the MDC, who has been in politics forever but is young.”
Zanu-PF supporters celebrate and dance at a party rally at the National Sports Stadium in Harare yesterday. Zimbabweans go to the polls tomorrow.